The seas of change

The theme of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) national conference in Halifax this past week was “Charting the Seas of Change”. Set against the backdrop of one of Canada’s most beautiful harbours, the three-day conference explored many facets of change as it relates to the field of public relations.

Here are just a few of my favourite conference highlights:

Max Valiquette (aka Conference Rock Star), President of Youthography in Toronto delivered an outstanding presentation on youth culture and the ways today’s brands can connect with the digital natives.

Keynote speaker Ret. General Rick Hillier proved that the Canadian Armed Forces brand has undergone a radical transformation in recent years, and that true leadership is based on a strong set of core ethics, personal values and humility of heart.

Joseph Thornley, Chairman and CEO of Thornely Fallis Communications (Ottawa) and Carman Pirie, Principal at Colour (Halifax) teamed up to bring us up-to-speed on the latest social media developments and what they mean for the field of public relations.

Leonard Brody, Co-founder and CEO of NowPublic challenged our beliefs about the role of citizen-generated news in our digital age.

Amanda Brewer, Director of Change and Internal Communications, Hill & Knowlton and Brendan Hodgson, Director, Hill & Knowlton outlined a great case study detailing the use of social media during the last CBC lock-out, and applied the philosophies of SM to employee communications

Dana Phillip Doiron, Managing Director of the Partners Strategy Group articulated the keys for success during crisis communications planning, using personal examples from the Swiss Air disaster.

And of course, who could forget the amazing lobster suppers at The Shore Club, the cobblestone streets of the city where democracy was born in Canada, and the many new colleagues (and old acquaintances) who made this conference such a great success.

Congratulations to all the conference organizers on a job well done!